It’s that time of year again! Eurovision Song Contest 2018 is only a week away, and for all of you Euro-faithful, Kori and Dan have put together a preview week to review every song! Today is covering the second half of semi-final one, so settle in, enjoy some music, and let us know what you think in the comments below! Spoilers: Kori and Dan have wildly differing opinions this year.
#11. FYR Macedonia
Kori: One of my favorite songs of the year. I’ve always had a soft spot for FYR Macedonia, so it’s been painful to watch them miss advancing to the grand finals since 2012. With a sharper live staging, this song could squeak out of this semi-final and give FRYOM its rightful place in the Grand Final. Also, I’m a huge fan of genre mashups, and this song has them in spades.
Dan: I did not expect weird pseudo-reggae from FYROM, of all places. I think the strength here is in Marija’s voice, which has a Lady Gaga-esque depth that goes well with Bojan’s guitar. Rather than go the easy route with something poppy, Eye Cue submitted something that, in my opinion, really stands out and should go far.
Kori: Croatia has been trying to show off more of its musical talent in recent years, but “Crazy” leaves me merely whelmed. It has a good hook, but ultimately feels like the song is just spinning its wheels and doesn’t have any peaks to hit. I can’t say I see this leaving the semi-final.
Dan: My opinion is the title. Crazy. Really, really excited for whatever weird nonsense Croatia pulls out for their staging just based on their video. I also dig the tribal drums and war horns that punctuate this song. It’s loud and primal and I love it.
Kori: This is another of my hot favorites, and you’re probably starting to see why semi-final one is shaping up to be a blood bath. Did we mention only 10 songs advance? Austria is another country that’s upped their game in recent years, and it’s obvious they came to play with this R&B number. Could we possibly see a return to Vienna next year?
Dan: Some good soulful R&B from…Austria? I really want this to do well as it has some real soul compared to a lot of the bland attempts coming from some of the other countries. Sadly, I think it may be a bit too tame to really get the attention it deserves.
Kori: I love me a polyphonic chorus and Greece delivers it big here. Another one of my favorites (seriously, y’all, this semi-final is going to make me cry), I’m really hoping Greece can make an appearance on Saturday in the Grand Final.
Dan: Literally any group that incorporates folk influence is going to get a lot of love from me. Pounding drums, big hair, and a beautiful pan flute make this song stand out as both very greek and very good. It’s not really as good as Croatia’s, which it shares a lot of things with musically, but I’m interested in what Greece has up its sleeve for “wow factor”.
Kori: Oh look, it’s another of Kori’s favorite songs for this year. Saara Aalto has tried for years to represent Finland in the Eurovision, and it took going to the UK and coming in second on the X-Factor to get it done. After the Finnish audience voted on one of three songs to compete at Lisbon, “Monsters” won the ticket. A mix of Bjork weird and the best kind of Lady Gaga pop, look for this song to advance to Saturday.
Dan: In our most direct aping of Mother Monster, Finnish Xena struts around with her entourage of flamboyant men and sings about overcoming her monsters and being true to herself. If this gets far it will be because of staging, not because of anything new musically.
Kori: And now we’re back to whelmed. Sevak has a good voice, but too much of “Qami” reads as him screaming or shouting long notes. Interesting melody, but the overbearing vocals kill it for me.
Dan: It’s acoustic ballad time! When put up against the other solo men in this final, it’s probably in the middle. Not quite as bad as the Czech Republic or Iceland, but nowhere near as impressive or sweet as Ireland or Austria. It’s also just sloooooow. By the time it gets to the good bit, the song is over.
Kori: This is a song I want to see advance, but I don’t know if they’ll be able to with all of the other heavy hitters. “Stones” is a modern pop-rock number that’s infinitely repeatable and very radio friendly. Will it be enough to carry them through? That’s up to the voters and jury.
Dan: I think this is a popular choice to go far, and I think it really is a contender. Actually, a song that I could see a lot of people enjoying. It’s powerful without being overwrought, combining a relatively stripped down presentation with Coco’s rock ‘n’ roll voice and backed by her brother Stee’s heart-pounding drum beat.
Kori: It’s a pleasant song, but for a quiet night on a stroll, not for Eurovision. Look for this to be forgotten over the bigger numbers and meet the same fate as Iceland and Lithuania. Shame, because Ireland was once the powerhouse to beat at ESC. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Dan: I know I said this was better than Armenia, but really that more speaks to how lackluster most of the male vocalists are this round. It’s soft and indie and gay, which probably doesn’t fit Eurovision, well, maybe the gay part. It’s just simple and sweet, refreshing after all the over the top nonsense on the rest of the ballot.
Kori: Straight up, anyone who shit talks “Fuego” is gonna catch these hands. Maybe my favorite song of the entire contest, this is super radio friendly and easily a song of the summer with it’s Spanish vibes and ethnic choral tones. Eleni is known for bringing the choreo, so expect her live performance to match the title of her song, delivering utter fire.
Dan: Eleni didn’t have to come onto Eurovision and murder everyone, but she did. God this song goes so goddamn hard. This song has everything: extravagant mansions, latin beats, fire. Plus the whole thing is a giant middle finger to Greece reportedly being racist ass-hats and not letting her represent them ’cause she’s Albanian. There is no universe where this doesn’t win, and if there is one, I don’t want to live there.